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Learning Mindset through Self Compassion

Updated: Jul 5, 2023

I am an Athletics/Track & Field fan, and June 2023 had some very exciting racing. Faith Kipyegon had two amazing world-record runs! A solo charge for the incredible 1500m record and a magnificent race a week later to capture the 5000m record. Canadian Ben Flanagan (link to video HERE) also impressed me with his win and big PB in the 1500m at a meet in Windsor, ON.

Image from Ben Flanagan's Wikipedia Page

Coverage of Athletics is great, with live streaming of Diamond League meetings on, as well as live streaming and video of National races. Another exciting component of athletics coverage in North America is the social media outlets that set up microphones at competitions. The occasional post-race interview from these athletes contains a little pearl of wisdom and maybe an insight into elite performance. Following a 200m race in New York last weekend Abby Steiner, a top US sprinter, gave a particularly insightful interview on Flotrack. In her short 4min interview, there were two quotes that stood out for me: "The clock is at zero every single race." So she is saying to perform your best, you need to be present in the moment. Everyone is on the same start line. Her second quote is a powerful mindset for an athlete in such an objective sport as athletics, where at each athletics meeting, hundreds of athletes' times and distances are recorded, and high-speed photo finish cameras are used to determine winners and losers. Oh! That reminds me of one of the most exciting races of the past month was the men's 5000m in Oslo which came to a photo finish. Article HERE.

But back to Abby's post-race gem. When asked about what she thought about her competitors in the 200m, she replied, "I think comparison is the Thief of Joy." To listen to the interview, click this link--VIDEO. The question is at 1:59.

Flotrack Interview

In a previous post on this site, I shared that one of my favourite podcasts is A Slight Change of Plans with Maya Shankar. When listening to this week's podcast, I connected with what Abby Steiner said in her recent post-race interview. Practicing self-compassion creates a learning mindset. It is worth a listen on your Holiday Weekend. Here is the link to the podcast.

And I think it allows us to retain the joy in our pursuits. (See an earlier post, Joy and Repeated Practice--Starting with Joy.


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The First Lap Coaching offers year-round coaching for cross-country skiers. We offer individual and group coaching programs through monthly programs, clinics and lessons. See our Programs and Fees page


About the Author:

Meet Kevin Shields, an experienced coach with 28 years of experience in cross-country skiing and running. He has coached for Lappe Nordic and Nakkertok Nordic and is currently the Head Coach of the Carleton University ski team. As a University of Waterloo Cross Country and Track Alumnus, Kevin continues to train and compete in master’s athletics. He holds a BSc degree from Waterloo and a BEd from Nipissing University. He is in his final year of a Master of Coaching from the University of Alberta. Kevin’s research and practicum focus on coach education and holistic practice design.


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